Arocket engine exploded during a test in Japan on Friday, but there were no injuries in the incident, an official at Japan’s Education, Science and Technology Ministry said.
The explosion of the Epsilon S engine at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) testing site in northern Japan is a further blow to the country’s space ambitions, following a series of failures earlier this year.
The explosion took place about a minute into the test of the second stage engine, the official said.
Television footage showed flames shooting out the side of a testing facility before the whole small building was engulfed in flames and the roof blew off.
Japan’s space programme has suffered a number of setbacks recently, including failure of its medium-lift rocket on its debut flight in March, when the second-stage engine did not ignite as planned. Another launch was aborted a month earlier.